Photo Marketing

Every day more and more you can notice small changes across the web. There’s no doubt exponential growth is here to stay and well… grow! It’s been a long time since Kotler’s 4 Ps are no longer the magic formula for marketers. Outbound marketing has been long dead.

Instead, consumers are savvier, hungrier and much more quality demanding. The level of information consumption is beyond doubt at its highest level in history. We’re surrounded by gadgets that filter information for us according to what we want to see — hence the phrase “you see only what the mind wants to see” has more meaning than ever before–.

Especially in the web, we are only pulled in to content that is image or video related. No wonder 9gag has been such a hit! In fact, attention span and the number of unique users increases dramatically when there’s rich (high quality) media involved. An infographic by MDG Advertising proves this detail by detail.

Photo Marketing
Photo Marketing

Personally I observe it’s especially true with social media. Every time media is posted on Facebook or Twitter, fans come flowing in with likes, RTs and sharing. Pinterest is the live example of media curation, ordered in such a way that it has become the third largest social network, just because of rich media!

Facebook noted this trend a while back, ergo coming up with the Timeline which features media in a higher quality. Furthermore, Instagram’s purchase was done in great time to further exploit and feed users’ hunger for images. What kind of marketing will be next? With so many developments, it’s hard to keep up!

Facebook’s App Center, Switzerland of Apps?

Facebook’s user volume presents so much opportunities, that a lot of them, perhaps even the Facebook staff or Zuckerberg himself haven’t discovered yet. One of these opportunities was app development and support. It has been done for quite some time now. However, Facebook had much more potential than that. It has now announced that it will become an App hub. This “App center” will be the app shopping mall to go to.

Fear not, Facebook is not in on it to become the new king and major competition to Apple, Google or any other app store out there. It rather is the place to go to no matter what device you have. Just like in a shopping mall you can find hundreds of different stores and brands, Facebook App Center will offer these options.

Once you enter the site, you can select the device you are handling and will automatically be redirected to its main app center; if you have an iPhone, you’ll be redirected to Apple’s App Store; if you have an Android device, you’ll be redirected to Android Market and so on. Not only is it a handier place to look for the latest trends and your favorite apps, but it is also a better place to compare prices (if any), ratings, quality and just how many people are actually using certain apps or not. It is a more critical, user friendly place in which you can better trust your friends’ judgement instead of the biased opinion of their developers.

Now, if Facebook’s App Center doesn’t charge users a penny extra, what does Facebook gain out of it? Just like regular Facebook apps like Farmville and the like, Facebook credits can come into play. Although this won’t mean an extra cost for users, it will mean a commission cut from manufacturers and developers. Impressive right? What will they think of monetizing next? Stay tuned.

What 1 Billion Represents for Instagram & Facebook

The number “One Billion” means two key things for both Instagram and Facebook. We’ve all seen how in the past days, a company that had no defined Business Model went from zero to a $1 Billion USD worth in under 18 months. This past sentence rises several questions, so let’s take one at a time.

  • How did Instagram survive 18 months without a monetized mobile business?
Instagram has had several rounds of funding that have fed the company and its multiple developments. This is the most basic piece of information according to Crunch Base. The company has had a rather small staff, and its product has been rather attractive to investors, SO MUCH that well, Facebook just bought it.
  • Why did Facebook pay $1 Billion dollars for a company that offers an entirely free service with no monetization?
After several valuations, the company has risen its value overtime. But it’s not just about what Instagram is worth alone, but how much Facebook can take advantage of. This price tag is really more about what Facebook can do with Instagram’s product. Although they have clarified that Instagram will remain as an independent app from Facebook, with separate functionality, Facebook is in for a gold mine of data.
To further grow its databases, Facebook can sell better advertisement placements and targeting with an expanded data base. Instagram can provide Facebook with particular tastes of niche users with very peculiar activities.
  • Where is Facebook standing in terms of number of users right now?

Facebook has 901 million users at the moment, with predictions of it reaching 1 billion users before the year ends. The largest social network is still at a growing stage definitely. More numbers, more power to them.

Overall, many have protested about Instagram’s purchase, threatening to close their accounts (or have closed them altogether). Which makes sense given that it’s human nature to reject change. However, Instagram also grew 40% in number of users in a period of 30 days, give or take. In any case, the world still spins, and two great companies now operate under the same umbrella.

A little thing called Branch Out

A great number of people have (rightfully) said (in my opinion) that personal Facebook profiles should not be used for professional purposes. That’s why so many people have leveraged Linked in for their working lives. Both social networks are widely known, and have very different sets of tools that will help different purposes. However, there is little that Linked in can diversify on outside the professional realm; which makes it a highly specialized tool.

Facebook on the other hand, is mostly used for entertainment and personal social life. However, it is also the largest international database that holds the likes and dislikes, behavior, and demographic information that any company in the world would die for. So, of course fan pages had to be born. This however, is a consumer directed approach, companies stepping in to sell their product or service in a more socially friendly environment. This is very different from a consumer, or in this case, an individual to use their Facebook profile as their professional résumé.

It’s been said that companies do a background check on potential employees before hiring them. That includes Facebook, Twitter and of course Linked in. A very large number of people have sweat in the past because of their personal profiles on Facebook. Not because they’ve done something wrong, but because it is the place in which people just are who they are informally. Of course security enhancements have been brought to the network in which users can raise their level of privacy and block people whom they are not friends with.

This brings me to the new professional app & tool on Facebook: Branch Out. Of course, as any other app on Facebook, the user must allow it to use Facebook data in order to function. This would be like melting Linked in & Facebook together. All privacy settings that you may have, only work for external people (or existing contacts) not to see certain information. By allowing the app to connect to your personal profile, you are disabling these settings for the app to run properly (just in the app, the settings will continue to be how they are for the rest of the contacts in your list).

To be clear, this is my predisposed opinion of the app. However, many of my contacts have begun using the app. I would like to wait out and see just how effective it really is. I’m sure it will guarantee jobs to many of its users, but will it be better than Linked in? Will it have repercussions? We’ll see what the crowd’s wisdom says after a while of using it.

Remember Remember the 5th of November

Who would have thought a movie would have such influence in the mindset of millions of people? Truth be told, there have been a number of films that despite their fictional nature, have changed the course of history; Space Odisey 2001, and now it seems it still is the era of V for Vendetta.

In a futuristic, chaotic world, only the UK survives financial crisis and global conflict. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they are the promised land, but rather a struggling totalitarian state that only through fear can they hold steady. A particular masked activist decides that their system is no different from all the other fallen states, and so V is born.

That pretty much sums up the fictional plot, but what about the real world? Thousands if not millions of masks are sold around the world. But what’s even more shocking is that an actual group of people have taken in the philosophy and taken down tech systems to prove a point.

They promised that today Facebook would be next. Will this hold true? “Remember Remember the 5th of November”. What’s more, with all this technology around us, we can do anything, so why kill the principle itself? The group claims because of the abuse of power, but aren’t we all in the end in need of control? Where’s the line between control and abuse?

All I can think of is technology as a tool for the betterment of society. It may sound naive but in a connected world like never before seen, anything is possible.

How do you Make the Leader follow You?

It’s been a while since I’ve written about the big elephant in Tech World: Google + vs Facebook. In fact, it’s been a while since I’ve written an entry on this blog for that matter. But over the course of the last article, what have we learned as social networkers? You can always make the leader follow you and turn things around in the blink of an eye.

Facebook was getting a fat belly sitting on its throne for a while now. There was no social network out there that could even make it stand up and do a little work out. Now it seems breaking a sweat doesn’t even begin to describe this situation. Let’s look at some fact before and after G+ made its “plus” sign the scarlett letter on Facebook’s forehead.

Before

Facebook did a few changes on its network: First apps came pouring like a hurricane. People started complaining and so the network cut back on spammy apps. Only Zynga came across as a worthy side kick to a lot of people. (Who could forget all those Farmville invites?).

One of the most talked about issues was security and privacy policies. Although people were endlessly complaining, Facebook didn’t really do much about it but band-aid the situation. Truth be told, even if you restricted you profile so that only certain people could see things, the process was too complicated and sometimes unreliable.

After

Since G+ came into the scene, it has been nothing but a ghost chase for Zuckerberg’s network. Privacy settings were remastered by G+, in fact, presented in an entirely different model. Simple and easy as to placing people in different, drag and drop circles. More importantly, it’s effective.

G+’s interface is cleaner, more understandable and can be integrated with other Google family products like YouTube. You can simultaneously watch a video with dozens of people over the Hangouts feature.

What’s Facebook reaction? Exactly that, a reaction. Instead of innovating on their own, trying to come up with new, different and improved features, Facebook has done nothing but imitate G+ in any way possible. The interphase has changed, privacy settings can be chosen from the publication box and other things.

But here’s the interesting part: not only is Facebook falling behind and following G+ like a lost puppy, it’s making its own network a lot more confusing and cluttered. There are so many mixed features, it’s hard for the public to keep up with them and to even notice that they can do something useful for them.

So there it is. It’s not quite the David vs Goliath situation, is more like a Godzilla vs King Kong deal. We can all figure out who’s who in that scene. Let’s see if in truth those 700 million users can get a change of hearts.

The Web Writes History in a Different Way

History has always been a compilation from people’s memories, a few portraits, photographs, diaries and mostly delicate artifacts that have been left behind after people pass away. We can only gather what little clues we get and build a story from it. Even when there were writers and historians recording events on a daily basis in their journals, we are left with only one version of the truth. Let’s say the writer was honest, but he or she could only be honest as far as their perspective would let them. Perhaps they didn’t see a key event, they missed a word, they heard something wrong or something else went otherwise, so our clues are left corrupted.

We can never be 100% sure of history because well, we weren’t there to witness it. However that might come to an end. We are the first generation of human beings that can record history like never before. Every blog post, tweet, status update, share or any other interaction done online is a definite, exact and accurate clue of what happened, down to the very second it was launched into the web.

Adam Ostrow makes sure to remind people about this in his TED Talk presented on July 2011. He also mentions that of course these clues or entries will long outlive us. Of course this is also true for ancient scripts, monuments and artifacts. But these posts can be shared to the entire world without damaging them. For example, when there is a natural disaster, people tweet about it, share pictures, make videos out of it and what not. They each contribute with a piece of hard rock evidence of what’s going on.

Of course there would be so many publishers and information givers that each will see the event from a different angle, which will give us a more holistic and accurate story from more than just one version of the facts. Not even certified reporters can achieve this. The power of crowd sourcing is greater than any certification, title or authority can achieve. A story told by 750 million Facebook users for example, can never be accurately reached by a single reporter or even blogger like yours truly.

Information has never been richer. We are a collective historian society as every second goes by.We can finally leave a definite, mystery-free record of our existence for generations to come.

Facebook vs Google + Becomes the New Mac vs PC

Article first published as Facebook vs Google + Becomes the New Mac vs PC on Technorati.

Remember the video clips featuring two actors representing Mac and PC? It was a great representation of what still goes on between both brands. Although the videos were made to promote Mac over PC, they still coexist. Even with Mac only having a 15% of the pie in the US, rest assured Mac computers aren’t going anywhere; if anything, they’re growing every day.

Same thing seems to be happening on the newborn battle between Facebook and Google +. With 750 million users Facebook has world domination up until this point. They should definitely take care of their own share, that’s for sure. Just last week CNBC reported Facebook Stock to be in Jeopardy.  It’s no wonder when despite Facebook’s attempt to “wow” their audience with their Skype add-in launch, Google+ is still growing and it still represents a direct threat.

Google+ isn’t going anywhere either, except further growth. To be honest, it’s comforting as a user to finally see some healthy competition as far as social networks go. With Twitter as King of micro-blogging and Facebook as King of overall social networks, there didn’t seem to be much hope for anyone else to bring more innovation to the table.

G+ has brought a much needed push in the industry where in order to be better, brands need to come up with improvements. For example, just this week Facebook launched Business exclusive profiles to counter Google +’s business approach. It is a subsite that will not interfere with personal profiles and make it easier for companies to stop impersonating an individual.

This shoulder to shoulder race is representative of what true competition needs: countering with new products and services, so that in the end the true benefitiary is the consumer. Hopefully both Facebook and Google + can stay in the game to continue this benefit. Which actors will be chosen to impersonate the social giants should there be a “Mac vs PC”-like video?

Read more: http://technorati.com/technology/article/facebook-vs-google-becomes-the-new/#ixzz1TWUZaBsc

Broadcast Interrupted

Article first published as Broadcast Interrupted on Technorati.

With so many partnerships and technological tweaking between social networks, apps and plug-ins it’s hard to keep track of how many real input you have as a company.

It happens more often than not with big companies. Google just recently had to stop real time search for a couple of days or so so they could renovate their partnership with Twitter. According to an article published on Search Engine Land, Google is now open to new partnerships with other providers, not just Twitter.

Several other examples include agreement expiration. It makes you wonder whether its intentional to stop all broadcast or they simply forgot about it. The Twitter – Google partnership’s expiration was not pre-announced , perhaps so not to give out a window of opportunity to competitors?

What about the recently launched Facebook-Skype partnership? It’s brand new, practically out of the oven, but will it ever have an expiration date? Will there be a point in which regret is reached? Like back in 2000 when Google partnered with Yahoo! and even included the exclamation mark on its logo. What happened next? The exclamation mark came off. Years later did they announce the partnership back on in 2008 as reported on Submitedge.

To be fair, partnerships are created and terminated for the sake of progress. Perhaps at times it’s no longer profitable for at least one of the parties. As in Google’s case with G+, several critics say that Twitter should watch out, for G+ may take over their 200-million-tweets-a-day business; a figure reported by Twitter itself. So yes, for better or for worse, there comes a point where their joint broadcast will always be interrupted.

Read more: http://technorati.com/technology/article/broadcast-interrupted/#ixzz1RaZTHAIK

Hangouts vs Fb+Skype

It was only a matter of [little] time before Facebook countered Google +. Thus far, the most appealing feature of Google + is Google Hangouts. A feature in which you turn on your webcam and the people in your circles can have a live, visual chat with you.

In this morning’s conference from Facebook’s headquarters, there were three new features launched, including Group Chat, a list of online contacts which unfolds from your browser’s side and the day’s starlet: Facebook + Skype plug in. It pretty much does the same thing as Google Hangouts or regular independent Skype, however, you ignite your live chat with a friend with a visual aid of yourself.

What was most curious for me, or funny rather, was the fact that Zuckerberg added the ultimate cherry to his presentation, something like this “unlike companies that want to do it all, companies that focus on a single thing will alway be more successful”. Implying that the big G represented little competition to his own creation.

Now what I was waiting for was definitely the Q&A section. Who would be the reporter bold enough to directly ask about G+? And voilá! First reporter to be picked out from the crowd, first one to pop the question. Mashable’s representative went “and I got to ask, what do you think about G+ Hangouts?” Zuckerberg went ahead and answered the special new features with Skype and finally answering the direct hit. He said there was a definite trend towards sharing more and more every day, to the point that in a year from now, we’ll be sharing 32 times more than we do now. Zuckerberg explained that if Facebook didn’t do something like the Skype plug in, there would always be somebody else that would do it. It’s a general trend, not Facebook ruled.

His diplomatic answer was better thought than the implied rock throwing he had stated earlier. Thus far, the plug in works perfectly fine, as does Google’s hangouts. It’s just a matter of fans? What other influences are there? Take your pick.